Born to an Air Force family at an Army hospital Melissa has always been a little bit screwy. She was further warped by her years of watching Monty Python and her strange family. Her love of romance novels developed after accidentally picking up a Linda Howard book. After becoming hooked, she read close to 300 novels in one year, deciding that romance was her true calling instead of the literary short stories and suspenses she had been writing.
After many attempts, she realized that romantic comedy, or at least romance with a comedic edge was where she was destined to be. Influences in her writing come from Nora Roberts, Jenny Crusie, Susan Andersen, Amanda Quick, Jayne Anne Krentz, Julia Quinn, Christina Dodd, and Lori Foster. Since her first release in 2004, Melissa has had close to 30 short stories, novellas and novels released with seven different publishers in a variety of genres and time periods. Those releases included a 2005 Eppie Finalist, Three Capa finalists, and an International ebook best seller in June of 2005.
Since she was a military brat, she vowed never to marry military. Alas, fate always has her way with mortals. Her husband is an Air Force major, and together they have their own military brats, two girls, and an adopted dog daughter and they live wherever the military sticks them. Which she is sure, will always involve heat and bugs only seen on the Animal Discovery Channel. In her spare time, she reads, complains about bugs, travels, cooks, reads some more, watches her DVD collections of Arrested Development and Seinfeld, and tries to convince her family that she truly is a delicate genius. She has yet to achieve her last goal.
She has always believed that romance and humor go hand in hand. Love can conquer all and as Mark Twain said, "Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand." Combining the two, she hopes she gives her readers a thrilling love story, filled with chuckles along the way, and a happily ever after finish.
Melissa Schroeder also writes as Kiera West.
Q. When did you decide to write romance?
Back in 1999, I accidentally picked up a Linda Howard book. I was a thriller/mystery reader (and aspiring writer) at the time and it was shelved in suspense. After that, I read every romance I could get my hands on. I knew that romance was the genre for me.
Q. What is a normal writing day for you?
First off, normal and me usually don't go together. I tend to write in cycles but on a writing day, I start with getting my demon seeds off to school. Then, I answer the bazillion emails I get over night. Then, I try and write, but I am usually interrupted by IMs or calls. Or, hey, then I have to watch the latest Castle that I taped on the DVR. Toward noon, I give up, open up Dr Wicked's Write or Die and force myself to get a word count in for the day. All through the day, it is a fight to keep my brain focused because I suffer from ADD. But, I try and hold myself to a word count (depending on the project I am working on at the moment) each day.
Q. You write in so many genres, do you have a favorite genre?
That is one question that is always hard for me to answer. I have to say that contemporary is my favorite overall because it is my strongest voice. But, historical comes a close second because it my favorite genre to read. Then, futuristic. I love the action adventure, getting to shoot things up.
Q. What is the easiest/hardest part of writing?
The easiest part is coming up with ideas. I have four or five boiling in the background all the time. They sometimes almost overwhelm me. The hardest part is to keep going when things don't go right. Publishing is a hard business and sometimes it is hard to keep going in the face of rejections, bad reviews, etc. and, then there are the times when the story or your characters don't cooperate with you. It can be very frustrating sitting down in front of a computer every day. But it is what I love to do, so I would rather have a horrible day writing than a day at a job I hate.
Q. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Number one, read everything you can get your hands on. The good, the bad, the ugly. In and out of the genre you write in. Then, NEVER GIVE UP. It isn't easy to get rejected, but it is part of being an author. I had five in one week. That was a big chocolate week, LOL. But, I got through it and you will too.
Q. Are your books more plot or character driven?
I have to say character driven. I do have big plots, especially in my futuristics or paranormals, but the characters--their quirks, conflicts, goals and motivations keep the book going.
Q. This is your first full ménage romance. Do you plan on more?
YES! I actually have two follow up books to Conquering India. I also have an idea for a few paranormals.
Q. What is your favorite part about being an author?
I love to live in an alternate universe of my own making. And, I love my readers. They are some of the kindest, most supportive people I have ever met.
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